WASHINGTON (AP) - Worldwide man-made emissions of carbon dioxide - the main gas that causes global warming - jumped 3 percent last year, international scientists said Thursday.
That means the world is spewing more carbon dioxide than the worst case scenario forecast by a Nobel Prize-winning group of international scientists in 2007. Scientists said if the trend does not stop, it puts the world potentially on track for the highest predicted rises in temperature and sea level.
The pollution leader was China, followed by the United States, which past data show is the leader in emissions per capita in carbon dioxide output. And while several developed countries slightly cut their CO2 output in 2007, the United States churned out more.
Still, it was large increases in China, India and other developing countries that spurred the growth of carbon dioxide pollution to a record high of 9.34 billion tons of carbon (8.47 billion metric tons). Figures released by science agencies in the United States, Great Britain and Australia show that China's added emissions accounted for more than half of the worldwide increase. China passed the United States as the No. 1 carbon dioxide polluter in 2006.
Emissions in the United States rose nearly 2 percent in 2007, after declining the previous year. The U.S. produced 1.75 billion tons of carbon (1.58 billion metric tons).
Gregg Marland, a senior staff scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said he was surprised at the results because he thought world emissions would drop because of the economic downturn. That didn't happen.
"If we're going to do something (about reducing emissions), it's got to be different than what we're doing," he said.
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